It is positive to see that, despite a number of challenges, the average dealers’ satisfaction with the relationship with their manufacturers continues to rise. The NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey, which marks its 30th anniversary this year, is carried out on a biannual basis to monitor the health of the relationship between dealers and their respective manufacturers.
The winter 2018/2019 edition of the survey was conducted in January 2019. Dealers answered a series of questions covering a range of business aspects and their impact on the relationship with manufacturers. Responses are scored from 1 (extremely dissatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied). NFDA surveyed 30 franchise networks and received 1,742 responses from dealers, equating to a 40% response rate.
Overall average score
Kia topped the survey with an overall average score across all questions of 8.8 out of 10 points. Kia, which has been the highest scoring manufacturer for four consecutive issues of the survey, was followed by Toyota (8.6), Lexus (8.5) and Mercedes (8.4). Alfa Romeo (4.1), Fiat (4.0) and Jeep (3.8) were at the bottom of the table. The all dealers’ average rose by 0.3 points from six months ago.
The all-important question how would you rate your manufacturer overall? had an average score of 5.8 points, which was 0.1 points higher than six months ago. The top performers were Kia (9.3), Toyota and Mercedes (9.0) and Lexus (8.8). The networks that returned the lowest ratings were Alfa Romeo (3.5), Jeep (3.4) and Citroen (3.3).
Movement in score
Following the disappointing performance in summer, Mercedes had the biggest increase in score with a gain of 89.4 points across the whole survey. Jaguar was the second most improved manufacturer (+45.5) and, despite the low ratings, also Alfa Romeo saw a significant upwards movement (+43.6). BMW experienced the largest decline, losing -46.8 points.
It is encouraging to see that, over the past thirty years, the NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey has become a reliable and respected tool to identify any potential issues affecting the working relationship between retailers and manufacturers. Positively, the steady upward movement of the average dealer satisfaction levels, which started twelve months ago, is continuing. In particular, retailers showed satisfaction with the sales of used cars and with their manufacturers’ used car programmes, reflecting the buoyancy of the sector. A constructive relationship between retailers and manufacturers is vital for the automotive industry to prosper and NFDA will be engaging with manufacturers to ensure that any concerns currently affecting retailers are addressed.
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